Our BA Archaeology course enables you to study the material traces of past societies from artefacts recovered through excavation to standing monuments; from the earliest humans to the first Empires and from the rise of organised religion through to the Crusades.
Join a university that's ranked in the top 10 UK universities for Archaeology (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021), and gain a broad range of subject-specific and transferable skills spanning the humanities and sciences.
We are a friendly and welcoming department. We have an outstanding track record for student satisfaction, with scores consistently between 90-100% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, 2010-2020.
Handle human remains and learn about burial archaeology; touch objects from the past and see how we interpret this material; utilise skills in a contemporary mock crime scene investigation. Realise how ideas of gender are reflected and imposed through the material world; how climate change has impacted on lives past and present, and how stories about the past are conveyed through museums and the media.
Study within a research-intensive department at the cutting edge of social and scientific archaeology. 97% of our research was judged to be of international standing in the latest Research Excellence Framework 2014. You will have the opportunity to participate in a Field School during your course, gaining direct hands-on experience in all aspects of an archaeological excavation. Put your skills into practice, including excavation, surveying, GIS (geographical information systems) mapping, planning, and finds processing, and contribute to new archaeological knowledge through our discoveries.
We encourage you to get involved with archaeological excavations in the UK and Europe, such as prehistoric monuments, Roman cities to Medieval castles; but it’s not just digging. Archaeology is an academic subject that will teach you valuable theoretical and practical skills, with opportunities to use specialist equipment, work in laboratories and access three superb on-campus museums. You will also have the chance to boost your employability with our Study Abroad programme, whether in Malta, Denmark, Florida, Korea or other parts of the world.
Placement and/or study abroad
All archaeology degree programmes (single and joint honours) are also available as four-year courses, which give you the option of spending your third year on a placement or studying for one year at a University abroad, gaining valuable professional and international experience. You can also combine the two options by spending one semester studying abroad and then undertaking a half-year professional placement abroad or back in the UK.
We provide opportunities for you to undertake placements in a variety of contexts. Placements are an excellent way to enhance your work-related skills and develop a network of contacts, as well as strengthen your employability prospects.
Opportunities are available working across the Archaeological, Heritage, Planning and Museum sectors including: research institutions, government organisations, local planning authorities, archaeological consultancies, field units, specialists and archivists. Alternatively, you can choose a placement in a non-related business or industry, exploring different career options and enhancing your employability by drawing on the many non-vocational, transferable skills you obtain from an Archaeology degree.
Recent examples include:
- Traineeship with Oxford Archaeology
- Archaeological science placement at QUEST, the University of Reading’s scientific consultancy company
- Volunteering at the Ure Museum, Cole Museum of Zoology and the Museum of English Rural Life
- Human remains placement
- Mediterranean Palaeoclimate Project placement
- Hominin Skeletal Morphology placement
- Archaeological Graphics placement
- “Developing Experimental Archaeology for Research and Training” placement
- “The Ecology of Crusading: Isotope Analysis and Faunal Remains” placement
- IMAGINE (Study Abroad) placements for castle excavations in Spain
Our department has a dedicated member of staff in charge of placements, who can provide you with advice and support.
Our BA Archaeology and BSc Archaeological Science courses are accredited by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and are among the first recognised for providing key skills relevant to careers in the historic environment. Student membership of CIfA is offered to all students enrolled on these courses, who then have access to CIfA's e-learning modules and specialist professional networks, which also provides details of available jobs in the profession. CIfA membership is a desirable asset for many jobs in the heritage sector.
For more information, please visit the Department of Archaeology website.